The House Intelligence Committee is once again considering holding former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon in contempt after he told the panel he would not answer questions beyond a list authorized by the White House, CNN reports.
Bannon appeared at a House Intelligence Committee hearing after the White House on Wednesday sent lawmakers a letter purporting to explain “why [Donald] Trump’s transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege,” according to CNN. According to the White House, that means Bannon does not have to answer a broad range of questions from lawmakers, despite a pending subpoena against the former Trump aide.
Bannon’s refusal to answer questions has drawn rare bipartisan condemnation from lawmakers involved in questioning the former Breitbart executive chairman. As CNN noted, Republicans are concerned about Bannon’s invocation of executive privilege, and “say they're worried about the precedent it would set.” Still, Republicans—including Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX), who heads the committee’s investigation—decline to say whether they’d hold Bannon in contempt.
Democrats on the panel say Republicans are refusing to stand up to Bannon or the White House.
"If they don't force him to answer legitimate questions, they will be ceding Congress' authority, and we'll be setting a very, very dangerous precedent that people can just tell Congress what they will and will not answer, and will show no resolve to use our subpoena power to get to the bottom of what's going on,” Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) told CNN.